Learn how to make homemade Christmas floral arrangements with this step-by-step tutorial. Create beautiful homemade Christmas flower arrangements with basic materials and fresh greenery. You will be amazed how easy it is to make a Christmas centerpiece with greenery.
It had to be that one…
And only that one…
I called dibs on it each and every year…
It was wonderful like it came straight out of a fairy tale…
It was wooden, painted, very old, and every year a bit more fragile…
The little white sleigh made my little heart sing…
My earliest Christmas memories are of me and my mom in the kitchen. The kitchen table was piled high with evergreens, pieces of floral foam soaking in the sink, various containers and plates on the kitchen counter, a cardboard box full of ornaments nearby, and me with the little wooden sleigh that was my favorite container.
I probably was about four or five years old when my mom started teaching me how to make fresh Christmas floral arrangements.
Through the years, I watched my mom make at least a dozen Christmas centerpieces with candles each year.
Every surface in our living room would get a homemade arrangement. And some of them would find their way to neighbors and acquaintances that needed a little Christmas cheer.
Thinking about how she created each and every one made me realize she was quite methodical in her approach. And now, when I set out to make my own fresh Christmas floral arrangements, I follow her lead to a T.
How to Make Christmas Flower Arrangements – Basic Steps
- Choose a container
- Prepare your floral foam
- Gather lots and lots of various evergreens
- Start with the outline
- Place your candle(s)
- Fill in your base layers
- Work from bottom to top and from out to inward
- Alternate your materials: vary in color, shape, form and character
- Work in all your evergreens and flowers first, add ornaments last
- Hide gaps with leaves and moss
This post contains Affiliate Links. Affiliate links are provided below for your convenience. When you buy anything after entering the store through one of my links, I will get a small commission at no extra cost to you. For more info, see my full disclosure here
Homemade Christmas Floral Arrangements – Step-by-Step-Tutorial
Step 1. Choose Your Floral Container.
You can use all kinds of containers to make flower arrangements. You can use real floral containers. But in most cases, anything works, like plain dishes, large cups, or bowls with a crack or a missing piece.
Anything that is (or can be made) waterproof and that will hold the foam can work. Looks aren’t important because most of the time, the container will be completely hidden, anyway.
Unless, of course, it is a little wooden sleigh. That is the centerpiece in and of itself.
When choosing your container, take an extra moment where you are planning to place this particular centerpiece. The size, shape, and form of your container will determine, in great part, the finished look of your centerpiece, and it should be a perfect fit for its place.
You have to consider how you are going to use this particular Christmas centerpiece. Is it going on a buffet? Then it will have a proper front and back, it won’t be moved much, and it can really be show-stopping bold and big.
Or is it going on a coffee table? Then it will have to look good from all angles; people will have to be able to see and reach over it, and it shouldn’t take up too much space.
Maybe on a round table? Then a round centerpiece will look very pretty.
Or will it go on that corner cabinet where a more vertical and triangle-shaped floral arrangement would work best?
Step 2. Prepare Your Floral Foam
You can buy floral foam in various shapes and sizes. I usually use the simple green blocks and cut them to size myself.
It is important that you prepare your floral foam well in advance. It needs to soak for several hours before using it. You know when it is ready when it has sunk to the bottom of your sink or bucket. Do Not Dunk It!
If you try to force the process and push it under water, then air bubbles will form inside, and your evergreens will lack water to stay fresh and luscious.
Cut the foam to size. Place it on or in your container. Make sure it is at least an inch higher than your container. Cut off the edges and corners to soften the shape.
Step 3. Gather Your Greenery
Collect lots of different kinds of fresh greenery. You can buy mixed bundles at plant nurseries, but you can use the ones from your garden, woods, or local park too. You don’t need big sizes. You can clip small branches here and there without visible damage to the shrubs. Just get lots of those small clippings, preferably lots of varieties too.
I always make sure I have various variations of conifers like thuja, pine, fur, taxus, spruce and juniper. I will use leafy greens like holy, boxwood, ivy and laurel.
And sometimes, when being fancy, I will use some forced hyacinth flowers or mini poinsettia.
Grab things like dried flower heads from hydrangeas, seed pods from poppies, and curved branches from hazelnut too.
It is nice to have a large collection to choose from. So find and take as many different ones as you can.
Step 4. Prepare Your Evergreens
Before using them, always cut your greens to size and make sure the stem is clear of leaves and needles and cut it into a sharp point.
Some of those evergreen branches are quite thick, so use quality pruning shears to make this job quick and easy.
Step 5. Make the Outline of Your Floral Arrangement
The outline of your centerpiece can be round, rectangular, C-shaped, or triangular or following the irregular outline of an out-of-the-box container like my wood log. Start with the outline and determine what is front and back (if applicable).
Step 6. Place Your Candles
Now it is time to place your candles. For Christmas centerpieces, I like to use taper candles (usually just one per centerpiece). You can buy reusable candle holders specifically for this purpose. Or when your piece of foam is really large, you can push the candle straight in there.
Or those tall, skinny candles that you can only buy around Christmas time. You can use several of those in one floral arrangement. Make sure it is an odd number if you use a bunch of small candles at once. Three work well in small, round centerpieces for a coffee table. But I remember using at least 9 of them once, in a large rectangular centerpiece for our buffet one year.
Step 7. Fill Out Your Layers of Greenery
Start filling in your arrangement with more evergreens. Work in circles. The base layers should be placed at a downward angle to cover the base. Leaves also work great as a base layer that can cover your container beautifully.
Slowly start going horizontal and then upward. Remember to use small branches. This will take some patience and time, but it’s worth it.
Alternate between your evergreens so you get a good mixture of different colors of greens and different shapes of needles, ferns, and leaves.
If branches are not sturdy enough to be pushed into the foam, you can reinforce them by winding them with some floral wire.
Step 8. Add Decorations and Ornaments
Start adding ornaments. I always like to start with using natural decorations first, like pinecones with a wire stem, pieces of bark, oddly shaped branches, branches with small pinecones, etc.
If you want to see how to add a wire stem to pinecones: I show that in my tutorial for making a pinecone centerpiece.
I always add the shiny and glittery fake ornaments sparingly. And I will add those last.
Step 9. Cover and Fill Any Gaps
As a last step, take a close look from all angles to see if there are any obvious gaps or if the floral foam is still visible somewhere. Fill those gaps with another decoration or use moss to cover the foam. You can use fresh moss or dried Spanish Moss.
We would save the Spanish moss at the end of the season and use it again the next year. Until it had all crumbled and had to be replaced.
How to Make Your Fresh Floral Arrangement Last Longer
My fresh Christmas floral arrangements form a nice collection on my garden table right now. I love looking out of my kitchen window and seeing them there looking all pretty and nice. I might bring them in when it is closer to Christmas. Or maybe not, we’ll see.
If I will leave them outdoors they will stay fresh and green for a really long time. I just have to remember to keep the foam wet.
If you do use these fresh Christmas centerpieces inside, it is even more important to keep the foam wet at all times. Use a watering can with a long spout to carefully fill the container and drench the foam with water.
Misting your live Christmas centerpieces with a little water from time to time will do wonders in making them last too.
More Christmas Flower Arrangements Ideas
You can use floral foam and the same techniques I used for my centerpieces when you make a Christmas wreath too. I made a very easy tobacco basket Christmas wreath that looked great and was super easy (no need for wet foam).
I love decorating my garden for Christmas. Do you remember the time when I used flowering mini cyclamen in a toolbox, or the one where a big urn took center stage, or that year when I went all fancy with a big Christmas swag. Those were the days!
I started making fresh Christmas floral arrangements when I was four or five years old. When I was about seven, my mom would set everything up, start one of her pieces, and then always mysteriously had other things to do.
Leaving me to make lots of homemade Christmas centerpieces while under her supervision and guidance.
And by the time I was eleven, she didn’t even pretend to be involved anymore. Christmas decorating had truly become my responsibility. From setting up the tree, making all the Christmas floral centerpieces, hanging homemade wreaths, and scattering candles on every possible surface. And I loved every minute of it!
Let the Christmas decorating continue! Bring it on!
Marianne Songbird is the founder of Songbird, where she hopes to inspire everyone to create a home they love, one DIY project at a time. She shares anything from craft ideas to home decor inspiration and from DIY projects to decorating hacks. Originally from the Netherlands Marianne and her husband Lex are currently renovating a 250-year-old farmhouse in Germany.